I’ve been thinking a lot about what i’ve learned from my time on Instagram.  Believe me, if we started from the beginning, i could write a novel.  However, for the sake of this blog post lets try to keep it to the top five.

giant tea pot pouring tea

1. You Don’t need a Camera.

That sounds odd, of course you need a camera of some sort.  But contrary to popular belief it doesn’t need to be a super sized DSLR with built in Wifi.  Your camera phone will do just fine, some of the biggest and most successful accounts work solely from iphone/android.  You can give your phone a bit of edge however.  Attachments and different clip on lenses are available for most phones.  These can be great for adding a bit of clarity to a shot, that nice smudgy blur your phone might not pick up on it’s own.  The bonus is they cost around £15, so they wont break the bank either.

2. You Don’t need an Instagram Husband

As many bloggers and Instagrammers will know, trying to get a photo of yourself without having someone to take it for you, is H A R D.  Trying to set up your camera or phone to balance just right, at the right angle and work the self timer, i mean it’s an art form.  But there are things that can make this easier and are complete game changers.  So, not only can you get yourself a tripod to act as a husband, but you can get one for whatever device you’re using.  If you’re sitting with your iphone thinking ‘oh i can’t possibly shoot a conceptual portrait cos i don’t have anyone to take it’ Think again Sally!!  Tripods for iphone are available to fulfill all your needs. You can also get them as big as regular tripods too, so no need to worry about height.  Then it’s all about that self timer.  The one on  your phone will work great.  But if you’re feeling extra sassy you can get your own self timer remote for your phone. .  I mean, how amazing is that?  Of course all of this stuff is also available for your camera, and you can check out the tripod i’m lusting after here.

hands as a clothes line with birds

3. VSCO is Life

If you’re not using VSCO to edit your photos, then you should be.  Or at least, you should be using it alongside lightroom.  Say Cheerio to those awful Instagram filters, they’ve still a long way to go.  Download VSCO from your app store, it’s free, and get yourself a few of the presets.  There is a great selection of free options, but if you see one you fancy you can purchase it for pennies and you wont even notice it on your bank statement.  I’ve also found this has really helped me to identify my style.  I use the same presets (Analogue 7,8,9 incase you’re interested) for nearly every single photo.  This allows the viewer to clearly feel and engage with the mood in my photos.  If you’re hopping about from moody blue to sunny yellow, things can look a little crazy.  Find some you like and stick to them, use the tools to alter exposure etc and you’ll soon be a total pro!

4. The People Behind the Big Accounts are Lovely!

I used to find big accounts intimidating.  I also used to think that there was some sort of hierarchy to Instagram.  That the little people were never noticed and were never seen by anyone they admired.  Very small fish in a very big pond, if you like. But that simply is not true.  Instagram is a creative platform that allows each user to express themselves.  It allows them to pull inspiration and create, to advertise and to learn.  Your content can be just as good as the big time accounts, and the big timers will see that.  They don’t look down on you, they encourage you.  If you are creating and you’re working hard, that will be clear.  Hard work and a creative outlook will resonate with most Instagrammers, we’re all playing the same game.  You should never be scared to approach someone you admire for advice or ask them for an opinion.  Mutual respect for each creative is what makes Instagram great.  Next time you want to ask that big time account with all the followers to do a ‘Follow Friday’ with you, or ask them what VSCO preset they use, just bite the bullet.  I’m betting you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Dog with butterflies on its nose

5. The Numbers Matter

But not the ones you might think.  Recently i’ve been looking at my engagement stats against my followers.  I signed up to Whalar recently, a site that connects brands to influencers and the like. Once you are accepted they have some pretty interesting stats available for you to check out.  Apparently companies are now looking at your engagement more closely than your follower count.  If you have an authentic following of engaging people, this is far more valuable that a ‘K’ next to a number.  I haven’t found any other sites that calculates your engagement percentage.  But, you can work it out for yourself by taking your average likes/comments and doing the sum with the amount of followers you have.  You should then be able to work it out.  It’s probably also worth including this info if you have a media kit.  Brands will look to see how much ‘influence’ you have, so the higher the percentage the better!

So, don’t make my mistakes and don’t fret too much.  I hope this helps at least one of you lovely lot!

Have a Great Thursday evening. Sx










  1. September 15, 2017 / 7:43 am

    Sarah it’s my first time here on your blog 🙂 and yep I’m with you with all these points you mentioned. IG is such a fun place to put out our works whether or not people “like” what we put out there.

    Yep, the 2nd pop up was too early 😉

    • sarahcolvine
      September 15, 2017 / 11:59 am

      Thanks for the feedback 🙂

      I’ve removed the second pop up now… Phew! Sx

  2. Patricia
    September 15, 2017 / 7:49 am

    Great post 🙂 I love A7 too! And a good tip for android users without an insta-husband is that you can take photos remotely by saying “cheese” (on Samsung anyway) thereby avoiding that 10 second timer sprint if you don’t have a remote 😆

    • sarahcolvine
      September 15, 2017 / 12:00 pm

      A7 is life!! And that is a great tip for Samsung phones. I think i’d need a better prompt word though, cos i bet id be caught with an awkward face everytime!!! Sx

  3. September 15, 2017 / 9:16 am

    Brilliant post Sarah! A tripod for an iPhone sounds like it was made for me!! I need one of these in my life. Then, who knows, maybe I could take a photograph of something other than my children!? 😂 Xxx

    • sarahcolvine
      September 15, 2017 / 12:01 pm

      Doesn’t it sound amazing? And a self timer remote, i didn’t even know such a thing existed! Oh K, you know i love your photos of the kids! The cinemagraph is amazing! Sx

  4. September 15, 2017 / 4:12 pm

    Your pictures are so lovely and atmospheric! I’m so glad I finally started using VSCO – the A5 filter is my everything haha! I also really love using Snapseed for initial editing. xx

    Laura // Middle of Adventure

    • sarahcolvine
      September 15, 2017 / 7:27 pm

      I don’t think i’ve ever used Snapseed! I’ll need to take a peak! Sx

  5. September 15, 2017 / 8:13 pm

    Great post. Simple, clean and to the point. I agree vsco is pretty useful nowadays and is a brilliant editing tool. I’m still struggling with my relationship with Instagram but it’s all about the good and the bad bits I guess or it would be a little too boring?!

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